I met someone the other day who said that she was concerned with ‘self-perfection’. She actually used that phrase so breezily; almost as though self-perfection were a thing. But then she was about 28, so maybe self-perfection is a thing if you are 28 in 2017. She was incredibly concerned with doing everything right and being seen to do everything right. The right choices, the right name, the right time to get married, the right way to be as right and irreproachable as possible. The best way to be flawless. Correct. Admirable. And she wanted my advice which, in itself, was funny because, however flattering the light, however aligned the planets and however biased the view, I am not perfect.
I am also not interested in being perfect. I suspect perfection doesn’t exist but I don’t care enough to look closely. I told my self-perfecting friend that, in my flawed view, the greatest risk to her future was not imperfection but extreme boringness.
Perfection doesn’t exist. And if it does exist then it is for other people; people I do not want to be around. Because perfection is chilly and soulless and naïve and the very idea is incredibly emotionally dangerous. What more aggressive method can you think of to set yourself up for failure, to make you feel unloveable even to yourself?
That’s the thing about growing up; the devotion to static perfection recedes along with Father Christmas and nasty men. Let go of perfection. It is a cruel, dull, brittle mistress.